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I about chocked when my new friend “M” stated she was learning to celebrate when she had completed an important task on her “To Do” list.  She and her husband are starting to build a new house here in Grand Junction.  They have never built a house before.  I can just imagine their “To Do” list.

“M” went on to say that she would accomplish something important and then immediately forget it in her haste to get to the next item on her list. 

My throat constricted because that is exactly what I have done my whole entire life.  I did not thing anyone else lived like me, “driven” as one friend described me.

But, along that driven highway, I had missed out on much lovely scenery, enjoyment and satisfaction of a job done.  I always felt behind and inadequate.  It’s amazing that I am in good health.

“M” went on to explain that when she took time to acknowledge and celebrate an accomplishment, it gave her great satisfaction and enjoyment.  “After all, I learned the present is all we have and we might as well enjoy it.”

So, I have been trying to do just that.  The other day my kitchen was a mess.  I cleaned it up and then thought “good – good for you!”  I did not charge on to the next thing which was something like clean out the garden.  I poured myself a cup of tea and sat at my kitchen table, admiring the beauty of the trees and bushes turning brilliant colors in my backyard.  I did get to cleaning up the garden.  But, all day I felt good because my kitchen was clean and in fine shape. 

Thinking about this further (always a dangerous thing to do), I realize that I have always felt it was selfish to “sit back on my laurels,” give myself a little praise, or just enjoy the now.  In fact, it felt sinful to do so.

After all, if I wasn’t perfect, or my house was a mess, or I didn’t have that advanced degree or whatever, no one would like me, let alone me liking me. I think some of this thinking came from my parents, both fourth generation Americans, but both coming from a heritage that was looked down upon by other Americans.  (My mother came from an Italian family.  My dad had an Irish mother.  No one could criticize his father’s family whose women could qualify for Daughters of the American Revolution membership.)

Then, God forbid, there are the “Seven Deadly Sins” – you know, pride, greed, lust, anger, gluttony, envy and sloth. Pride heads the list and is known to lead to self-justification prompted by fear.  Yes, good old fear – the fear of not being allowed to participate, the fear of being dismissed, the fear of being defective, ugly, fat, you name it. 

Well, none of that fear materialized when I sat down and had that cup of tea.

Although, enjoying my clean kitchen was not a major triumph, knowing the importance of recognizing little feats, was a big deal  I think I celebrated by having a couple of my favorite cookies, too, with that tea.